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How Brookfarm founder climbed to the top

SAVVY: Business person, foodie, heli-skier and co-owner of Brookfarm, Pam Brook in her Byron Bay premises.
SAVVY: Business person, foodie, heli-skier and co-owner of Brookfarm, Pam Brook in her Byron Bay premises. Patrick Gorbunovs

SKIING down a powder-frosted mountain is where successful Byron Bay businesswoman Pam Brook finds solace.

She gets flown to the top by helicopter.

"It's just one of the most beautiful, peaceful, calm places to be and you can't think of anything else when you're skiing except that moment, so you let everything go," Mrs Brook said.

But conquering mountains is nothing new to her.

The savvy businesswoman and her husband Martin have transformed a humble macadamia farm into the hugely successful Brookfarm macadamia company, exporting a range of award-winning products throughout Australia and overseas.

The business started as a 4500-plant macadamia farm at McLeods Shoot while they still lived in Victoria. They made the move north to add value to their products.

In November 2000 after 18 months of testing, baking and tasting, the Brooks sold their first Macadamia Muesli at Bangalow markets.

Since then, the team has grown to 45 employees delivering a range of products sold across the country and overseas, including being served on domestic and international airlines.

Working as part of a two-person team, Mrs Brook said it was important to establish roles early on.

"I think the important thing for Martin and I to sort out early on was to recognise each other's talents and to not get in each other's way but to be supportive.

"His is the area of sales and marketing and mine is product development, finance and planning."

Mrs Brook said communication skills and putting your hand up were two things women in business seemed to excel at.

"Women bring that networking and talking and they will work things right through a lot more.

"The other thing that women bring to business is sometimes just getting on with the job.

"At home there's that whole super-woman, the woman does everything, and often we just do it because we've always done it."

As for traits she finds admirable in other women, Mrs Brook said decisiveness, empathy and understanding were important attributes.

As well as a successful businesswoman, Mrs Brook is a mother of two.

Topics:  international women's day


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